Going to Iraq
posted at 11:10 am on January 3, 2007 by Michelle
Cross-posted at MM.com
My blogging has been lighter than usual the past few weeks due to family time, Fox News duties, holiday chaos, holiday illness–and, yes, planning for a trip to Iraq. As you know, ex-CNN newsman Eason Jordan extended an invitation to me three weeks ago to go to Iraq to investigate the Associated Press/”Jamil Hussein” story. He offered to pay for a trip. As you’ll recall, I asked if he would offer to cover travel and security costs for Curt from Flopping Aces–who broke open the story of AP’s dubious sources on Thanksgiving weekend and continues to lead the blogospheric search for the truth. Jordan agreed.
I spoke with Jordan by phone before Christmas to learn more details of his offer, which I’m not going to get into for privacy and security reasons. (He asked that his discussion be off the record.) I let him know that I had received invitations to embed with the military and planned to follow up on some of these offers concurrently with the investigation of the AP’s reporting. Since our conversation, things have moved at a fast pace on the embed side. Over the holidays, my Hot Air colleague Bryan Preston and I received word that our embed applications had been approved. We have been busy preparing our families and ourselves for the journey. Our overarching goals are two-fold:
1) to report on how the troops perceive mainstream media coverage of the war (with a particular focus on the wire services relying on local stringers); and
2) to report on progress and interaction between U.S. troops and Iraqi Army trainees.
The “Jamil Hussein” story is one important item on our agenda, but not the only one. As Curt and other bloggers on this story have noted from the beginning, Jamilgate isn’t just about “Jamil Hussein.” Bryan and I plan to do as much on-the-ground reporting as we can to nail down unresolved questions–not only about Jamil Hussein and the Hurriya six burning Sunnis allegations, but also about the AP four burning mosque story discrepancies and the many other AP sources that our military has publicly challenged–including “Lt. Maitham Abdul Razzaq” and more than a dozen police officers listed by U.S. military spokesman Navy Lt. Michael Dean. There’s also the issue of detained AP photographer Bilal Hussein. And we are looking forward to reporting first-hand on the security situation in Iraq outside the so-called “Green Zone” (International Zone) and talking to as many American and Iraqi Army troops with insights on these and other broader matters.
I am very heartened by Eason Jordan’s post yesterday challenging the Associated Press’s credibility, but am puzzled that his own crew in Baghdad still has nothing new to report more than a month after bloggers first started raising questions. I hope Jordan follows up on the most recent investigative developments in the blogosphere. As of Dec. 21, the AP refuses to answer these simple questions:
1. Is Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim the real name of your oft-cited source, “Captain Jamil Hussein” aka ” Jamil Gholaiem Hussein?”
2. If not, where is “Captain Jamil Hussein” currently working? If he is a Baghdad police officer, as AP asserts, why hasn’t anyone — not CPATT, not MOI, not Marc Danzinger’s sources [nor Eason Jordan’s] — been able to locate him?
3. What is your response to the CPATT officers’ report that Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim denies being AP’s source?
The reply from Linda Wagner, AP media relations officer, you’ll recall, was this:
I have no additional information for you at this time.
The reply from AP exec editor Kathleen Carroll…well, there was none.
Jordan has called on the AP to “to appoint an independent panel to determine the facts about the disputed report, to determine whether Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein exists, and to share the panel’s full findings and recommendations with the public.”
I support that call. But I have decided not to wait on the AP or depend on Eason Jordan for answers and accountability. Bryan and I will be heading out to Iraq very shortly as embeds to advance the story and get first-hand the side of the story the AP refuses to hear–the side of the troops on the ground. (It is an expensive trip. If you’d like to pitch in, we’d greatly appreciate any help. PayPal button below.) You’ll start hearing from us soon. Stay tuned here and at HotAir.com. I’ll also be filing dispatches for the New York Post, which provided us with media accreditation.
I have notified Jordan of our plans and encouraged him to move forward with his trip and his offer to bring Curt of Flopping Aces.
More importantly, I have asked Jordan to extend the travel funds and security coverage he would have spent on me to the AP’s Kathleen Carroll.
Ms. Carroll, you may remember, was the AP executive who derided bloggers for sitting at home instead of traveling abroad to do their own reporting during the fauxtography debacle last summer:
“It’s hard to imagine how someone sitting in an air-conditioned office or broadcast studio many thousands of miles from the scene can decide what occurred on the ground with any degree of accuracy,” said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s senior vice president and executive editor.
Yet, from her own comfortable office, Ms. Carroll has decided that bloggers, Jordan, the U.S. military, and Iraqi government officials are all wrong to question her news organization’s questionable news sources:
Kathleen Carroll, AP executive editor, told E&P today that she had not read Jordan’s latest item, posted Monday, and likely would not. But she stood by the news organization’s previous statements backing the existence of an Iraqi police captain, Jamail (sic) Hussein.
“I’ve been pretty public about what we have done to get to the crux of the criticism we have gotten about it,” she added. When asked about critics’ demands that AP produce Hussein to prove his existence, she said “that area [where he works] has pretty much been ethnically cleansed, it is a nasty place and continues to be.”
It is unfortunate that this neighborhood has been reportedly rife with sectarian violence, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is no police captain named “Jamil Hussein” working now or ever in either Yarmouk or al Khadra, according to on-the-ground sources in Baghdad (see here and here).
Ms. Carroll, why not leave your “air-conditioned office…thousands of miles from the scene” and find out for yourself if “Jamil Hussein” is who AP says he is? Or is it the “do as I say” standard for bloggers and “not as I do” for MSM news executives in their high-rise offices in Manhattan?
Donations to defray the costs of our trip to Iraq are gratefully accepted. Checks can be sent to Hot Air Network LLC, 554 N. Frederick Ave., #115, Gaithersburg, MD 20877. Credit card and PayPal payments can be made by clicking the button below:
Fresh commentary and reporting elsewhere in the ‘sphere:
Flopping Aces: “Eason Jordan Urging AP To Investigate”
Confederate Yankee: Gone in 60 Stories: The Grunt Work
Confederate Yankee: Gone in 60 Stories
Richard Miniter: Jamil Hussein and Confedeate Yankee
Ace of Spades: Cool Facts About Police Captain Jamil Hussein
Ace of Spades: “Katty Carroll To Critics: Drop Dead”
Patterico: Does the AP have a “scandal” on its hands?
Video at Hot Air: Brit Hume covers Jamilgate
Allah on Eason
Bruce Kesler: AP & Eason Jordan & MSM Self-Responsibility
Armed Liberal: It’s just a scratch
Related: Embedded blogger Bill Ardolino’s very interesting interview with a “Sunni Iraqi journalist” named “Quais Abdul Raazzaq.” Part two here. Ardolino files from Fallujah here, where he reports “morale seems high.”
The AP (non-)responds and another search comes up empty
Tracing “Jamil Hussein’s” footsteps and ignoring anti-blog hatred
What’s so funny about going to Iraq? Plus: More questions for AP
Looking for Jamil Hussein: Accepting Eason Jordan’s invitation
Eason Jordan is back
AP: Still not off the hook; Plus: The Question
Free Jamil Hussein
Questioning a NYTimes reporter; challenging CBS News & ASNE
The alleged war atrocity that the NYTimes can’t substantiate
Rumors and reporting in Iraq
Burning Sunnis, burning mosques, burning questions
Burning Six update: The AP responds (to USA Today); update: and now, a new AP account
Real news vs. fake news in Iraq
The media fog of war
The Associated (with terrorists) Press strikes again
Bilal Hussein’s congresswoman
AP runs to the Washington Post
AP stands for Advocacy Press
AP vs. the “so-called blogosphere”
Associated Press and the Bilal Hussein case
Where is Bilal Hussein?